Parliament Wants to Change the Taxation of High Gambling Winnings

March 8, 2024 | Tax

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BERN, Switzerland (March 6, 2024) — In the future, gambling winnings of one million francs or more should in all cases be taxed where the winner lived at the time of the win. Parliament has spoken out in favor of this.

With 96 votes to 88 and 2 abstentions, the National Council, as the second council, referred a motion from former Councilor Roberto Zanetti (SP/SO) to the Federal Council on Wednesday. The majority of SP, Center, Greens and GLP agreed and won over a minority of SVP and FDP.

The majority argued that there was a loophole in the tax harmonization law. For example, if you win a lot in the lottery on January 2nd of a year and move to another canton on December 30th of the same year, you will be taxed on this win in your new canton of residence.

In particularly spectacular cases, municipalities and cantons missed out on millions, even though they had provided infrastructure and services to lottery winners on 364 days of the year in question. This is due to the principle laid down in the law that where taxpayers have to deliver their money depends on their place of residence at the end of the year.


There is already a provision in the Tax Harmonization Act regarding exceptions for special circumstances. So far, the only exceptions to this end-of-year principle are capital benefits from pension funds and payments in the event of death and for permanent physical or health disadvantages.

This exception provision must be extended to large lottery or gambling winnings, was the tenor in parliament. The Council of States accepted the motion without opposition. The Federal Council also supported the demand.

The gap can probably be explained by the fact that winning millions from lotteries used to be extremely rare, said motioner Zanetti in the first council. Today, however, there is always talk of double or even triple-digit million jackpot winnings. A change in the law would create “a little more fairness”. “Where people consume, they also pay.”


Opponents of the new rules particularly pointed to the additional administrative effort that the cantons would incur as a result of the necessary coordination – for only around twenty to thirty cases per year across Switzerland. In addition, the cantons could intervene today in the event of tax evasion.

When implementing the motion, harmonization between the cantons is also sought, which represents an encroachment on the tax sovereignty of the cantons, the minority claimed. When implementing the proposal, she is now demanding that lottery or gambling winnings be taxed separately, similar to capital benefits from pension provision.


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SOURCE:  The Federal Assembly – The Swiss Parliament.

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